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10 Tips for Aspiring Digital Marketers

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Digital marketing budgets are expected to increase steadily during the next few years, according to Datran Media’s Annual Marketing & Media Survey, which reaches out to more than 5,000 marketing executives from Fortune 500 brands, top publishers, and leading advertising and media agencies.

This is good news for those of you hoping to break into the digital marketing industry. Whether you’re passionate about search, affiliate, social media, or another area of marketing, there are a few things you can do to prove your worthiness to prospective employers.

We asked five industry insiders about their top tips for aspiring digital marketers. Find their suggestions below and add your own in the comments.

1. Get Hands-On Marketing Experience

A degree in marketing or communications can take you a distance, but most employers are looking for candidates with marketing experience, whether that’s from a previous job, internship or side project. If you already have work experience in the marketing world, congratulations. For the rest of you, internships or other projects will be key.

“Any hands-on involvement with campaign creation, analytics, or optimization can be extremely beneficial to aspiring digital marketers,” says Traci Kuiphoff, online marketing manager at BareNecessities.com. “If you’re in school or a recent grad, the best way to gain experience is to do an internship at a company or agency that has a department or focus in online or digital marketing. Not only do you get real world hands-on experience, but it’s also great to put on your resume when you’re ready for a full-time position.”

If you are in college, look for paid or for-school-credit marketing internships at your college’s job fairs, via job search sites, and on social media sites. You could even land your next gig through Twitter.

If you don’t land an internship or find a position of interest, create your own project or enter a marketing contest. While studying marketing and international business at NYU Stern’s Undergraduate School of Business, a classmate and I entered the John Caples Student Campaign of the Year contest and created a digital marketing campaign for Pentel. Our campaign included a mix of digital, social and direct marketing communications, along with thoroughly gathered success metrics. Not only did we win first place, which included summer internships and a cash prize, but we also met industry experts who have acted as mentors to us.

2. Know the Lingo

Being able to analyze marketing campaigns and understand what worked or didn’t is the key role of a digital marketer — in order to do that, you’ll need to know (and love) the industry jargon.

“Understanding metrics on the web is key,” says Naishi Zhang, assistant marketing manager at Barnes & Noble. “The Internet provides so many ways of analyzing user behavior, and knowing how to gather and interpret data is important for success. Read widely and learn the lingo, so when someone asks about the CTR of a banner ad or the number of page views a landing page received, you’ll be ready.”

Mastering marketing terminology and metrics, and knowing what they mean, will take time and practice, but you can get a basic knowledge by picking up a marketing 101 textbook or attending an introductory course. Check out local college or continuing education courses. If that isn’t an option, the Internet is at your disposal. About.com’s glossary of marketing terms and HubSpot’s glossary of social media marketing terms are both very useful for beginners, and you should also read some of the top marketing blogs to get your daily fill of information.

3. Nurture Your Personal Online Presence

Rick Bakas, director of social media marketing at St. Supéry Vineyards and Winery said he believes a person’s online presence can be a major deciding factor on whether an aspiring digital marketer makes the cut for a job. “If an employer is deciding between two candidates,” he notes, “they might go with the person with the strong following online. Build your personal brand online. You have to show you can build your personal brand if you’re going to build someone else’s.”

Your personal brand is value-added in the job market.

“Your online clout is sometimes referred to as ‘social currency,'” he continues. “In other words, there’s a value associated with your online personal brand. Increased value carries as much weight as a great resume. A high Klout.com score for example, will help you stand out and validate what your resume says about you.”

Your Klout score is a number between 0 and 100 that measures the size of your engaged audience, the likelihood that they will amplify your messages, and your overall influence within your network. Bigger isn’t always better. Bakas explains, “Aspiring marketers would do well to grow an engaged online following, not necessarily a large online following. Again, Klout.com is a great tool to evaluate the strength of your online presence.”

4. Dabble in Everything, Specialize in Something

There isn’t just one career path in marketing. You can choose to work for an agency, with an in-house team, or start your own firm. There are multiple marketing disciplines, including affiliate, search, social media, e-mail, mobile, and display marketing, to name a few. Teams come in all sizes — some in which teammates specialize in certain areas, and others where a team can be composed of just one stellar know-it-all.

The best way to get a taste of all of the options is to dabble in a bit of everything. “Digital marketing agency experience can be extremely valuable — at an agency you can be exposed to all avenues of digital marketing from paid search, social media, mobile and everything in between,” Kuiphoff advises. “Most likely, you’ll touch a number of different accounts which can help you choose a vertical focus or specialty.”

Once you have a base knowledge in each area of marketing, you’ll be better equipped to choose a more specific path of focus. Having a specialty enables you to hone your skills in that area and become an expert, which is a valuable asset to potential employees.

5. Attend Industry Meetups and Conferences

“Put the ‘social’ in social media and spend time engaging with people in the real world,” Bakas says. “Go to lots of events to create or nurture quality interactions that can later continue online. Use plancast.com to see which upcoming events are worth going to. These experiences are ripe with opportunities to meet other digital marketers. The strongest relationships are the ones nurtured online and offline.”

Kuiphoff adds, “Digital marketing conferences not only provide a great networking opportunity, but most offer in-depth workshops that can enhance your skill set.”

Some worthwhile conferences to consider include SXSW, Search Marketing Expo, Web 2.0 Expo, Ad Age Digital Conference, ad:tech, Search Engine Strategies and Pivot.

If you’re not into the hustle and bustle of industry conferences, you can consider a more toned-down approach by attending or organizing your own Meetups. There are thousands of marketing Meetups around the world. The NY Entrepreneurs Business Network and San Francisco Entrepreneur Meetup are two of the largest.

6. Keep a Pulse on the News

Because of the nature of the Internet, digital marketing is ever-changing. If you don’t keep up with the latest trends and news, it shows in interviews and on the job. Sarah Hofstetter, SVP of emerging media and client strategy at digital marketing agency 360i, says it well:

“Remember that standing still is going backwards. Yes, it’s an adage that has been used for years to inspire ambition, but it is blatantly obvious in the digital landscape. Not only does that technology evolve at a lightening pace that transcends Moore’s law, but consumer behavior is shifting at a radical pace, and media consumption becomes more and more fragmented.

“Being on top of consumer behavior –- understanding what they’re doing online, what motivates them and their social and mobile behavior –- and staying ahead of that by learning what’s in the market and what’s on the come, will help ensure you don’t get stuck on the sidelines when interviewing for jobs in digital marketing.”

Kuiphoff recommends subscribing to industry blogs and newsletters to stay on top of the latest news. Some of my personal favorites include Ad Age, ClickZ, eMarketer, BrandWeek and AdWeek.

7. Get Technical

You won’t be coding programs or building full websites as a digital marketer, but you will need to work with developers and designers or other web specialists to communicate your marketing design needs. A basic knowledge of how the web works, HTML, and one or two programming languages, such as PHP, JavaScript, CSS and Ruby, will help you understand the current boundaries and opportunities that will affect your marketing campaigns.

“It’s important for anyone working in the digital world, whether it’s marketing or designing features for a product, to have a basic understanding of coding,” suggests Dharmishta Rood, a research assistant at Harvard Business School and fellow at the Center for Future Civic Media at MIT. “There are great experiential benefits from understanding the underlying technologies that shape what we do online — it’s easier to understand how users can interact with content, what is possible for design with things like CSS and JavaScript, and understand the nuances of basic technical terminology.”

8. Perfect Your Resume

Everyone needs a resume; what you do with it is up to you. To help you stand out, here are a few tips from our digital marketing experts:

  • “Demonstrate that you can produce results and work in a fast-paced environment, whether you’ve had previous digital experience or not. Don’t be afraid to include things about yourself that may not be directly related to the job. Resumes get scanned quickly, so it always helps to inject something creative and clever.” — Naishi Zhang, assistant marketing manager, Barnes & Noble
  • “One way you can make your resume stand out is to get certified. Google has a certification program for Adwords. If you have a paid search marketing focus this can help assure a client/employer that you’re proficient in the system.” — Traci Kuiphoff, online marketing manager, BareNecessities.com
  • “I’m a big believer in making sure your resume is on LinkedIn, and to have recommendations on LinkedIn. Start asking for recommendations soon. LinkedIn is like your digital resume. Make sure the facts match up. Also, Google your name to see what comes up — your prospective employers will.” — Rick Bakas, director of social media marketing, St. Supéry Vineyards and Winery
  • “Use keywords to describe your previous experience that make sense for the specific job you’re applying for — if the job description or department does ‘social media outreach’ and your description of all those Twitter @replies, Facebook messages and moderated blog post comments is currently called ‘customer service,’ this does not play up your strengths as a digital marketer. Use common sense though. If their keywords don’t match your experience, don’t write anything untruthful, and consider doing things to get the types of experience for the jobs you want, such as volunteering to help with the social media of a non-profit whose cause you support.” — Dharmishta Rood, research assistant, Harvard Business School

To showcase your skills alongside multimedia and other online assets, check out some digital alternatives to the paper resume, including video resumes, VisualCVs, social resumes and LinkedIn profiles.

9. Let Curiosity and Passion Drive You

“Sure, it’s great to know about Facebook, iAds and whatever is coming next from Silicon Valley,” Hofstetter points out, “but when we’re looking for key talent at 360i, nothing matters to us more than intellectual curiosity and passion…In a business where answers and solutions aren’t always obvious, you need to be innately curious (about everything) and obsessed with the ‘why’ behind the ‘what.’ ”

It may sound cheesy at first, but she has a point. Without inquisitiveness and zeal, we’re just work drones on a mission to take over the Internet. Plus, these traits have a positive effect on the way we work, Hofstetter says:

“People who have these qualities can innovate and identify trends from seemingly ordinary data — they’re the first to try new things (platforms, tools, technology) and think about how marketers can benefit from them. They don’t always have the answers, but when you’re being asked to do never-been-done-before things, there isn’t a rulebook. That’s why when we’re recruiting, we look for people who know how to ask the right questions.

10. Unplug for Your Sanity

Staring at a computer screen all day long can take a toll on your body, mind and social life. Get away from that monitor and breathe for crying out loud!

Bakas advocates getting out every once in a while to work on who you are as a person outside of work. “Because transparency is important, it’s important to be a good person in the real world,” he says. “It’ll translate into the digital world — you can’t fake being a good person if you’re a jerk in real life. Unplug for your own sanity, but also to continue growing as a person in life.”

I second that. Now, get out of here and get a job.

Digital Marketing Job Listings

Every week we put out a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we post a huge range of job listings, we’ve selected some of the best digital marketing jobs from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!

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Twitter Marketing To Boost Your Business Growth

Twitter Marketing To Boost Your Business Growth

 

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As the world’s second most popular social networking site, Twitter is a marketers’ dream.

However, some people still see Twitter as a teenager’s platform to share what they had for lunch and what they bought at the mall. The stigma around Twitter is that it’s all twaddle and nonsensical conversation, without any real-world bearing.

The majority of the Twitter users are far from that very small portion. From some of the top Fortune-500 companies and internationally ranked businesses, Twitter is a multifaceted media platform that provides marketers the ability to engage in real-time dialogue with customers, promote products and create buzz.

1. Have an Ear to the Chatter

The Internet is king. Whatever needs to be said, posted, shared or argued about is online. The world’s pulse is rhythmically beating to the tune of wi/fi. Twitter’s beauty is the fact that it’s an instantaneous connection to the collective conversation.

Twitter offers an incredible insight into what your customers, competitors and colleagues are thinking, saying and feeling about you, your products and your image.

2. Connect with customers

Twitter is the equivalent of sitting down with all of your customers at once over a cup of coffee. The intimacy and relationship building is what separates Twitter from any other social media available.

At its root, Twitter is a conversational tool.

Pose questions to your customers. Challenge the Twitterverse to improve your latest product. Listen to what they have to say about your customer service representatives. Provide a safe place for your customers to register complaints and genuine feedback.

3. Connect with businesses

Create new B2B connections through your Twitter page. The best way to begin these new relationships is to follow industry leaders and companies that you respect. Engage in thoughtful Twitter-banter, and as often as you can, ReTweet relevant Tweets.

Twitter broadens your scope: you’ll stumble upon industries that you may have never considered as a potential partner or inspiration for business practices.

4. Promote products

Though this list seems to be in no apparent order, but it rather is. These four reasons outline why marketers need to have a Twitter presence, but it’s also a blueprint for success and how you need to approach your account.

Promotion or creating a buzz should be the very last thing you tackle in the Twittersphere. After you’ve focused on listening and connecting, then promoting your products becomes a part of the conversation rather than a blatant or cheesy attempt to drive sales.

Twitter is an on-going conversation. Would you ever ask a new acquaintance to borrow their car on the very first meeting?

 

I love Twitter!!! Hope this post has brought you value!!  Please comment or tweet below.

 

Make it a great day!!

 

Adele & Christina

Virtual Marketing Empire

 

PS.  Need to advertise your business for more exposure…AdGrabber Directory can help!!  Watch the testimonials & hear what others are talking about ..Click here 

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Additional articles of value:

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http://mashable.com/category/twitter/


Monster Myth: Marketing To Women Alienates Men

By Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa

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It’s something every bouncer knows. Get women in the door, and men will follow—in droves. That’s because every smart marketer knows attracting both male and female consumers is a must. The general population agrees, too. According to the New York Times bestseller, The Athena Doctrine, millennials have a fundamentally stronger view of femininity and the role of women in society. Yet, successfully engaging both women and men is an art. How can marketers craft brand experiences that attract women, while still keeping men interested?

Traditionally brands have used a cookie-cutter, “shrink-it-and-pink-it” approach to design for women. This razor that men love? Let’s remove a blade, and make it fuchsia. That fancy computer? Women don’t care about speed, but they obviously want to match their laptop to their nail color. This approach is everywhere, but it hasn’t worked since Dodge tried it in 1955 with their La Femme car for ladies.  Over 50 years later similar tactics persist —messing with women’s minds and putting them on the defensive. The result is wasted marketing dollars and a female audience who is no longer listening.

Tone-Deaf Brands Equal A Tuned Out Audience

Marketers have entire research departments at their disposal but they are still going round in circles. So what’s stalling change?  This monster myth: marketing to women will alienate men. This misconception is entrenched in the modern marketing world but is especially strong in ads for liquor and cars. Slick, dark shots open on a woman gazing seductively at the camera while Jason Bourne-esque music swells.

For a marketer, this approach appears to be giving them more “bang for their buck” by talking to both male and female audiences.  But by diluting the message and possibly insulting women, they’re left with nothing. However, breaking the mold is scary and gender stereotypes and assumptions are everywhere.

Just look at your standard slate of ads during any NFL game. As male Editor and journalist Dana Jenning lamented: “For me, most ads on NFL games resemble funhouse mirrors. The marketers think they know the men who are watching — and it is still mostly men — and what their deep-down desires are: tank-like trucks, Arctic-cold beer, smoldering chicks (and the occasional pizza). But I just don’t see myself when I peer at these commercials.”

Yogurt is the opposite. In this industry, marketers have created artificial gender differences where they don’t exist. In a market that is known for stereotypically terrible “women’s ads,” there’s now a counter: men have their very own Powerful Yogurt that specifically targets their abs.

But there’s hope. In an effort to reinvent their image and sell their body wash, Old Spice uncovered critical research. After years of going after men, they found men weren’t the ones buying the body wash—wives and girlfriends were. So when the “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign launched, it didn’t just connect with the true chief decision maker (women), it sold a lot of body wash.

Gender-tuned Marketing: 5 Ways to Reach Your Female Audience

With the exception of a few, many conventional marketing methods aren’t connecting, so what can you do? Here are five ways to successfully reach your female audience without alienating men

1. Enchant. As a 21st century marketer, the job is no longer to simply sell, but to “transfer emotion.” The question is no longer just, “Did your target buy?” but “How does your brand make your customer feel?”

This is where brand enchantment shines. In an age where we can instantly access any fact, and have almost anything delivered in 24 hours (thank you, Amazon), perfunctory services and messages don’t impress anyone. Limited attention spans and multi-screen lives have made thoughtfulness one of the scarcest and most attractive messages in a brand’s arsenal. Take Michelin-starred restaurants where you never notice your water glass drop below half-full, or a dry cleaner who remembers how you like your shirts pressed, every time. This detailed attention and care is what customers remember, and what elevates something that is okay into something worth talking about.

The recent story of Joshie the Giraffe is an excellent example. When the Hurn family left their son’s beloved stuffed giraffe at a Ritz Carlton resort, the simple act of returning and express shipping the giraffe home would have been enough. But the Ritz Carlton sent along a binder of pictures with Joshie driving golf carts, getting a massage and more. This story has created immense brand affinity for all who hear about Joshie’s adventure.

2. Help her do less. With all the demands on a woman’s time and attention, it’s no surprise that the female-focused blogs on The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are named Motherlode and The Juggle, respectively. Women are busy, and so are men. They’re reachable 24/7 and constantly distracted. It’s the brands that provide customers with a serene moment, or an “it’s-so-easy-it’s-magic” experience that get a hooked, loyal audience. A great example of this is Uber. They make it as easy as three taps on your phone to arrange for a driver to pick you up and whisk you away.

3. Give her more. More options, more time, more respect, and more value. With both genders under a time crunch, it’s important to make sure “more” is tempered with value and—for women especially—aesthetic and function.

Apple is a fantastic example where giving more has paid off big. Think back to new tech presentations before Apple. They were endless lists of specs and maybe a picture or two. Now compare to latest Apple presentation. It was brilliant storytelling at its best with beautiful visuals, clear use cases and engaging examples—captivating the audience from beginning to end. And of course, Steve Jobs’ signature line, “Oh, and just one more thing…”

Steve Jobs proves the key to giving customers more is with elegant solutions that give customers more through considered design. While Apple is asking for more of a consumer’s time, they’re willing to give it because of the thoughtfulness behind the stories and design and their consistent delivery of value and function.

4. Assume nothing. “Women suck at science.” “All women in their 20s are the same as the ones on GIRLS.” “Ladies your age just want to get married.” These statements are awkward to even read, yet broad generalizations inform the majority of brand messages we see. You’ve seen these ads, and you’ll recognize them by the tropes they feature. Exhibit A: The stressed mom in the kitchen (every cleaning and breakfast product, ever). Exhibit B: The sassy, know-it-all (Wendy’s, Samsung). The fact that you can name and identify these stock characters shows how meaningless— and easy to ignore—they’ve become.

However, brands that go beyond these stereotypes to change these tired approaches can have a powerful impact. The recent campaign for Goldieblox took a fresh angle. With engineering toys geared towards girls, their insightful message that girls are interested in more than pink princesses shot the brand to the forefront of America’s consciousness (and our Google searches).

5. Cultivate conversation.It’s a simple fact: if a woman likes your product, everyone will hear about it. So give her multiple ways to talk to you—and about you—within her circle of influence.

Here’s another thing to keep in mind: if she doesn’t like your product her friends and family will hear about it, too.

It’s exactly because women are high-touch communicators that brands must take their customer service seriously. Unfortunately, customer service for most major companies today is so abysmal that those who have Twitter accounts dedicated to addressing gripes are lauded (see @ComcastCares). This generally poor level of service for consumers creates a huge opportunity for brands. Those that can get it right are instantly rewarded.

Take Diapers.com. Founded by two New Jersey dads, the site has won from day one with unparalleled customer service. Emails are answered in 20 minutes, 24/7. Items ship for free, with next-day delivery. This level of service has made customers incredibly loyal to the baby gear website—and even gets them geeking out about the robots that power their diaper delivery.

Embracing the Female Economy: Meeting Women’s Higher Expectations

It’s clear that there are gender differences to consider, but the old ways of marketing aren’t working. Marketing for today’s female consumer requires a more thoughtful, evolutionary approach. By moving past stereotypes, marketers can focus on the deeper aspects of what appeals to women: delight, reverence, value, service and communication. Brands that successfully deliver on even one of these attributes won’t dilute the appeal of a product to men; but will allow brands to meaningfully connect to all.

When it comes to concerns on alienation, it’s hard to argue with the logic of Trendsight’s Marti Barletta, “When you meet the higher expectations of women, you are more than fulfilling the demands of men.”  It’s time to start meeting those expectations and claim that piece of the nearly $20 trillion female economy.

Ayesha Mathews Wadhwa is Founder & Creative Director, PIXINK. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Ayesha has more than 15 years experience crafting strategy and creative direction for global companies including Apple, Facebook, Sephora, Amazon Lab126, and Picaboo. @ayeshamathews

 

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Make it a great day!

Adele & Christina

Virtual Marketing Empire